Heirloom Organic New Zealand Spinach Seeds (8)
New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
Also known as Cook’s cabbage or tetragon, is a leafy plant that grows native in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Japan. Captain Cook discovered the plant and used it to help his crew prevent scurvy. Sir Joseph Banks introduced the seeds to England in 1772 and it became a popular summer vegetable
New Zealand spinach is a perennial grown as a warm-weather annual. Sow New Zealand spinach in the garden about the date of the average last frost in spring or later. It can be started indoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost in spring for later transplanting.
New Zealand spinach is not frost hardy like true spinach. The two plants are not related but can be used fresh or cooked in the same way. Plant New Zealand spinach in the warm part of the year when regular spinach will not grow.
Description. New Zealand spinach is a perennial vegetable grown as a tender annual. It is a low-growing, weak-stemmed leafy plant that can spread several feet wide and grow to one foot tall. It has succulent, triangular- to oval-shaped leaves that are pale to dark green and grow from 2 to 4 inches long. The leaves of New Zealand spinach are smaller and fuzzier than those of regular spinach. New Zealand spinach has small yellow flowers and conical capsules.
Yield. Grow one or two New Zealand spinach plants per household member.
PLANTING NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
Site. Plant New Zealand spinach in full sun. New Zealand spinach prefers moisture-retentive, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. New Zealand spinach is weak-stemmed and will appear to trail across the garden. Set plants in hills similar to squash. New Zealand spinach prefers a soil pH of 6.8 to 7.0. Prepare planting beds with well-aged compost. Where summer heat is intense, plant New Zealand spinach where it will get partial shade in the afternoon.
Planting time. New Zealand spinach grows best as a warm-weather annual in temperatures ranging from 60° to 75°F. Sow New Zealand spinach in the garden about the date of the average last frost in spring or later. Start New Zealand spinach indoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost in spring for later transplanting. New Zealand spinach is not frost hardy like true spinach. Plant New Zealand spinach in the warm part of the year when regular spinach will not grow. The plant is drought tolerant but the leaves will not be as tender. New Zealand spinach requires 55 to 65 days to reach harvest.
Planting and spacing. Sow New Zealand spinach ½ inch deep and 2 to 4 inches apart. New Zealand spinach grows from seed clusters that produce several seedlings, similar to beet seed. Soak seeds overnight in water to speed germination. When seedlings are 3 inches tall, thin to the strongest seedlings, from 12 to 18 inches apart. Set New Zealand spinach in hills similar to squash. This will allow the weak-stem to sprawl. Space hills or rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Companion plants. Strawberries. Avoid planting New Zealand spinach in the shade of tall plants such as corn or pole beans.
Container growing. New Zealand spinach will grow well in containers. Grow two plants in a 5-gallon pot.